Dr Maria Tomlinson
BA MA PhD FHEA
Department of Journalism Studies
Lecturer in Public Communication and Gender
+44 114 222 2512
Full contact details
Department of Journalism Studies
9 Mappin Street
Maria's research examines how journalists, activists, and civil society organisations communicate with the public about gender and feminism via factual news media and social media.
In particular, she considers the impact of public communication on societal perceptions of social inequalities and health. This includes considering how the media can reinforce stigma, spread misinformation, and erase structural inequalities. Her work has examined public communication and the experience of minority groups in countries as wide ranging as Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Algeria, and Mauritius. Public engagement and impact are always at the heart of Maria's research. Maria collaborates with NGOs and activists to improve how they communicate about health related topics such as menstruation and menopause.
BA Hons and MA King's College London
PhD University of Reading
- Research interests
Maria's current research focuses on the impact of the menstrual movement on young people's knowledge and perceptions of menstruation as well as related health and social issues. The stigma that surrounds menstruation negatively impacts young people’s ability to communicate their menstrual experiences as well as access products, education, and medical treatment. Maria's research combines the analysis of British newspapers, social media (Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok), focus groups with seventy-seven 16–19-year-old students across nine schools, colleges and universities in Yorkshire, and interviews with 32 menstrual advocates. Topics include menstrual stigma, period poverty, misinformation, the experiences of transgender people who menstruate, environmental activism, endometriosis and PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
Maria's first monograph, 'From Menstruation to the Menopause: The Female Fertility Cycle in Contemporary Women’s Writing in French’ (2021, Liverpool University Press), compares the experiences of minority groups from Algeria, Mauritius, and France. Her second monograph, ‘The Menstrual Movement in the Media: Reducing Stigma and Tackling Social Inequalities’ (2024), is forthcoming with Palgrave and will be published open access. In collaboration with Acushla Young from the Girl's Network, some of the findings from this book have been turned into guidelines for activists and NGOs. The document offers advice on how to effectively communicate about menstruation with young people on social media.
Maria has also spoken about her research on BBC Radio London, podcasts, and in The Conversation. She is currently on the advisory board of FEMaLe (Finding Endometriosis using Machine Learning) and on the editorial board of 'Modern and Contemporary France'. She is also chairing a committee for the British Standards Institute. The committee is drafting guidelines for employers on how they can best support employees who menstruate and employees experiencing menopause.
- From Menstruation to the Menopause: The Female Fertility Cycle in Contemporary Women's Writing in French. Liverpool University Press.
- Queer(y)ing Bodily Norms in Francophone Culture. Peter Lang UK.
- Moody and monstrous menstruators: the Semiotics of the menstrual meme on social media. Social Semiotics, 31(3), 421-439.
- The contribution of citizen views to understanding women’s empowerment as a process of change: the case of Niger. Feminist Media Studies, 20(5), 713-729. View this article in WRRO
- Introduction. L'Esprit Créateur, 60(2), 1-12.
- "On dirait que c'est honteux de devenir une femme": Narratives of a Girl's First Menses in Maïssa Bey's Bleu blanc vert and Leïla Marouane's La jeune fille et la mère. L'Esprit Créateur, 58(2), 112-125.
- "It must stop, it must stop..." The Silent Child of Sexual Abuse in Shenaz Patel's "Sensitive". The Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language, 7, 38-38.
- The Trivialization of Sexual Harassment in Japanese Mascot Culture: Japanese Audience Responses to Youtube Videos of Kumamon. Feminist Media Studies.
- Chris Bobel, Inga Winkler, Breanne Fahs, Katie Ann Hasson, Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, and Tomi-Ann Roberts, editors. The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies. Women's Studies, 1-3.
- Introduction (pp. 1-25).
- Conclusion, Queer(y)ing Bodily Norms in Francophone Culture (pp. 263-265).
- Subverting patriarchal norms(?): Women, pleasure and the menopause in Michèle Sarde's constance et la cinquantaine (2003), Plaisirs de femmes: Women, Pleasure and Transgression in French Literature and Culture (pp. 139-152).
- Teaching activities
- JNL31001: Gender and Feminism in the Media (2022/3)
- JNL335: Final Project (2022/3)
- JNL61006: Critical Incidents in International Journalism (2022/3)
- NEW - Transnational Feminist Approaches to the Media (2023/2024)
- PhD Supervision
Maria is interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas:
- Gender studies
- Queer studies
- Feminist social movements/ activism
- Women's health/ AFAB health (such as menstruation and menopause)
- Francophone media and culture
- Media and communication in Greek